Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 20 – “A gentleman caller”

I went to staff meeting yesterday.  Didn’t last very long.  We talked for a few minutes and then had our prayer time.  And then we moved trash cans.  I brought up the two new ones, and we then tossed the old ones, garbage and all, into the back of the truck.  The new site is just twenty yards or so from the old one, but the only thing across the street is a vacant lot, so we’re hoping it doesn’t complain too much.  But speaking of complaining, for some reason Jim doesn't think he wants to add garbage man to his bucket list.

Chris went to the quilt shop yesterday while I watched the Astros game.  She has big plans for making at least three more small ones before December.  She was gone a long time, though.  The entire game in fact.  I was just about to call out the search parties when she texted that she was on her way home.  And when she arrived, what should she be carrying inside with her?  Extra bags.  Not quilt shop bags.  Bags from HEB.  See, we don’t have an HEB in Galveston, so she decided to stop at one in Texas while she was up there.  She loved their produce section.  Bought a bag of oranges.  She even roamed around the store to see what it was really like.  But that wasn’t the most exciting thing about her trip.  Oh no.  She bought me some Minute Maid frozen lemonade.  My all-time favorite ball park treat can now be enjoyed in the comfort of my own home.  What a gal.  She loves me.

We had a gentleman caller for one of our children last night.  Freddy was napping by the front door when all of a sudden we heard her bark.  Well, if what she does counts as a bark.  More like incessant yapping.  And her older brother Fritz started in as well.  It was obvious that he was none too happy with what was going on.  I leaned forward in my chair to see what was happening.  And there, standing on our front porch right by the door, was a scruffy, shaggy little mutt, come to call on Freddy.  Big brother Fritz obviously didn’t approve.  We were willing to give him a chance, albeit a very small one, so we went outside to introduce ourselves.  That’s the proper thing to do, isn’t it?  Well, the little scruffer would have none of it.  He bolted from the porch and around to the side of the house.  That simply irritated Fritz more, and now Heidi had joined in the chorus.  The combination of meeting the potential in-laws and dealing with an overprotective big brother proved more that Scruff-head could handle.  He left the premises and has not been back.  Sorry Freddy.  Nice job Fritz.  Take notes, all you Vaughan brothers out there. 

James 5:13 says, “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.”

Father, thank you for our role-model big brother of a dog, Fritz.  And for baby sister Freddy.  And even for the old woman, Heidi.  They have filled their canine role well.  Amen. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July 19 – “Watch out, Gene Kelley”

We started out our walk under threatening skies.  And before we finished but one mile, the rains came.  Light at first, the mere sprinkle soon became a downpour.  And through it all we trudged together.  No, not trudged.  Nor plodded.  No.  We danced.   In the rain.  Hilariously.  Joyfully.  Well, OK.  So “we” didn’t dance.  I did.  And it was joyous.  Well, OK.  Perhaps a better word would be “comical.”  But Chris did smile.  And we made it home without being struck by lightning, so all in all, it was a good walk.

Later in the day we ventured out once again.  This time, however, we took the truck.  First stop?  Surprise of all surprises.  WalMart.  Seems we had once again found ourselves fruitless.  No, really.  Literally without fruit.  We ran out of bananas and pineapple, and we were getting dangerously low on grapes and oranges.  We managed to restock all but the oranges.  They only had three bags left, and every one of them had a rotten one inside.  So Chris sacrificed and bought a watermelon instead.  Some sacrifice.  That’s her all-time favorite.

From there we went on a trash run.  Not to pick up trash.  Not even to take trash to be dumped.  We went to Home Depot to buy two more of those big ol’ 96 gallon trash cans with a lid on them for the church.  The groups staying in the retreat center have been generating a lot of garbage, and one of the neighbors has complained again.  Our plan is a two parter.  First, we will try to use only the cans with lids.  Four of them.  Second, we will move the actual pickup site away from that particular neighbor’s view, down the street a ways where the only thing across the street is a vacant lot.  We looked into getting a dumpster, but it was well out of our price range right now.  Hopefully this will solve the problem.  Gotta be good neighbors. 

James 5:12 says, “Above all, my brothers, do not swear — not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your ‘Yes’ be yes, and your ‘No,’ no, or you will be condemned.”

Father, be with our neighbor at church.  Please give him patience as we try to deal with the trash issue.  Amen.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July 18 – “Identical Twins”

We walked our three miles yesterday, and I even got in the majority of the Monday work that is always waiting for me.  And all that before Christina came by with her kids.  Well, not all her kids.  Jachin left for his first experience at youth camp around 4:30 that morning. 

Before they arrived they had gone to get the oil changed in their car.  While they waited, Micah started texting Chris.  I hear her chuckling off and on, but finally she laughed out loud and came in to show me what had been amusing her so.  Micah sent a picture of Tony Stark (AKA Iron Man).  He asked, “Do you know who this is?”  Being the awesome Nana that she is, Chris replied, “You?”  His response: “No, that’s your first guess.  You get three.”  She took a different tactic.  “Is it your Daddy?”  Micah: “No, but you’re getting closer.  One more guess.”  Then my beautiful bride did the unthinkable.  She let slip my secret identity.  “Is it DadDad?”  And Micah knew there could be no better answer.  “You’re right.”  Now it did come out in further discussions that I am not actually Iron Man, but I am his identical twin.  That means I can fit into the suit and operate just like Tony, without all the hassles that come with being a superhero.  Oh, and without the multi-billions of dollars he has.  Sigh.  You have to take the good with the bad.

We had some interesting visitors later in the afternoon.  We heard a loud boom or crash somewhere outside.  I thought it might have been some more trucks delivering dirt next door (They have done nothing since the last dirt delivery, by the way).  But no.  Instead we saw a utility truck parked in front of the house on the other side of us.  I walked over to see what they were up to.  Seems they were putting up some kind of support beam next to the utility pole.  That would be the pole that is completely covered in vines from our neighbor’s yard.  That stuff was rapidly encroaching upon the electrical wires.  The guy told me they had cut back as much as they could get to so they could get close enough to the old pole to put up the support.  Sounded like (and looked like) a pretty scary process.  I just hope they got it strengthened in time.  It would not be a fun thing to have the pole and its array of supporting characters in our yard. 

James 5:10-11 says, “Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”

Father, be with the guys who have to work around electricity and gas all the time.  Amen.

Monday, July 17, 2017

July 17 – “Quick Cailyn Anecdote of the day”

Here’s a Quick Cailyn Anecdote for today.  I’ve been saving it for when I have a day like yesterday.  Everything went great at church, don’t get me wrong.  The Astros even won.  But I had a tough, kind of blah afternoon.  Couldn’t get settled.  Didn’t even fall asleep like I can usually do on Sunday afternoon.  So, here from the archives …

I sat down at my desk to start working again.  The screen was set on FaceBook since I guess I had scrolled through for a while after my last work session.  As I reached for the mouse, I missed it and knocked it off of its pad.  Not a big deal.  It was only a matter of a few inches.  But when I looked at the screen, everything was huge.  It was like some 99 year old almost blind guy had snuck in and rearranged all my settings to super ultra large print.  I had no idea what I had done or how to even begin to correct it.  Ah, but have no fear.  An eight-year-old was near.  Cailyn was sitting nearby, so I asked if by chance she knew how to fix my screen.  She sat in my lap, pushed my hand away from the mouse, and in about three seconds had the screen back to normal.  I made her do it again, only much more slowly so I could follow in case it ever happened again when she wasn’t around.  Thank God for the techno-minds of the children.

James 5:7-9 says, “Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.  You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.  Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!”

Father, thank you for Cailyn’s willingness and ability to help me out the other day.  And thanks for the really good day at church.  Amen.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

July 16 – “Good bye, Flight Museum”

We started our day yesterday by going to the airplane museum.  Sadly, it was to be the museum’s last day of operation here in Galveston.  They are moving the planes up to a new and bigger facility at Ellington Air Field on the mainland.  They were hit pretty hard by Hurricane Ike, and ever since they have been planning how they can escape the next big one.  Meanwhile, nine years have passed and no hurricanes have threatened.  Yet they still followed through with their plans to leave. 

Every volunteer they have on staff was there, and they also were going to serve lunch.  We even saw a few World War II vets.  Also the pilots.  The guys (and girls) who fly the planes at airshows and just to keep them running were on hand to answer questions.  For me, since we have been to the museum many times, the most interesting thing to see was the inside of the B52 bomber that flies over our house all the time.  Fascinating to see the machine gun in place.  They were raffling away free flights in some of the smaller planes every hour.  You had to have closed toe shoes on to even enter, though.  We were in our island Teva best, though.  So we didn’t win.  It seemed the best decision to me, though.  The weather was unstable at best.  Not sure I would want to be up in one of those tiny things during a thunderstorm.  Now if Josh were here he would finagle a way to get some extra entries in there.

Speaking of Josh, we started sending him photos of the planes to gloat a little bit.  He eventually called back, and we ended up FaceTiming with Caleb.  He knew all about each plane and was happy to fill me in on its history and use.  I think he would have been happy to win one of those free flights as well. 

We ended up joining the support team of the museum.  It gives us unlimited free entry to the new place, but the deciding factor was the fine print offer.  All of our five to eighteen year old children AND GRANDCHILDREN receive free admission with us.  That just might be worth it in one trip.  We also get 15% off all purchases.  Not to mention a nifty membership card to carry around with us.  Now we’ll be forced to go check out the new digs up at Ellington.

I can’t close without mentioning our other jaunt of the day.  We stopped by the local First Lutheran Church to see the big quilt show extravaganza.  And then we went to another one over at Rosenberg library.  Chris filled me in on all the different types of quilts and styles of sewing involved.  She could recognize in a heartbeat which ones had been done on a machine and which ones were done by hand.  Two comment s from this peanut gallery here.  One, the handmade ones from the 1800’s were by far my favorite.  Way more impressive than the curly-cue designs of the machine era.  Two, the quilts Chris has done are certainly in the earlier category.  The comparisons make hers stand out far above the others.  So those of you out there who have been blessed with a Chrios quilt … it’s a great one.

James 4:17 says, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.”

Father, thank you for the volunteers that have made the airplane museum what it is today.  Give them safety now as they have to travel to Ellington to do their work.  Amen.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

July 15 – “Repairs”

I started off the day yesterday with an upsetting discovery.  The tiny little computer that operates my right side hearing aid was splitting in half.  That’s right, breaking right in two.  Weird.  It still worked, but I had a difficult time getting it into my ear.  Chris was concerned that once I got it in I wouldn’t be able to get it out.  So our first stop on the magical mystery Friday tour was the hearing aid place.  We got there about five minutes before it was scheduled to open, but the receptionist saw me standing there, looking forlorn, and she kindly let me in.  She took one look at the apparatus and said, “Oh, no.  This is one of those things we will definitely have to send off to be repaired.”  Of course it is.  So if you have any face to face dealings with me, be kind.  I’ll be half deaf for the next week or two.

Stop two on the excursion was the county clerk’s office.  The registration sticker on the car needed replacing, and we took care of the inspection last week.  Apparently early morning is the time to arrive there, too.  We were the first in line.  Well, we were the only ones in line.  But we were careful to follow proper procedure.  We walked all the way around the little sign that says “Line forms here” before approaching the counter.  Must be good citizens, you know.  We had all the proper paperwork in order, and even had an actual paper check to write on.  See, you can save a dollar by doing business in person like this.  It costs extra for the convenience of paying with a credit card or doing the transaction online.  Gotta love a small town.

Next stop was the district court.  No, we weren’t turning ourselves in or anything.  We were just there to apply for our passports.  Never know when you might need one, and we heard that after this year it is going to get tougher and tougher to get one.  We had already gone online and downloaded all the paperwork we needed.  But that seemed to be a bit unnerving to the guy waiting on us.  Well, that and their boss walked in and said hello to him while we were standing there.  And he was all alone in the department.  Remember, we got there pretty early.  We actually began to feel sorry for the poor guy.  His hands were even shaking.  He was a nice enough chap.  Said he thought my name was familiar, but the only connections we could make were that I went to high school with his cousin and I grew up on the same street with one of his co-workers.  We turned in all our paperwork and sighed where we needed to sign.  He took our picture (after we paid the cashier around the corner).  And we wrote the separate checks to be attached to each of our applications.  Lots of red tape, but in the end, our new friend didn’t think there would be any problems at all.

We decided that was enough for one Friday “day off.”  Back to the house for Chris to work on a quilt and me to … figure out some way to get repaired a bit before the Astros game. 

James 4:13-15 says, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.’”

Father, thank you for people like David who did a great job helping us out at the passport office.  Give his a calming weekend.  Amen.

Friday, July 14, 2017

July 14 – “Exotic”

We walked our three miles again.  Took me a while before I could keep my usual pace though.  Pretty stiff and sore.  But the "innards grease and oil," whatever the scientific term is, eventually kicked in and I was able to finish the route. 

Cailyn came over to spend the day with us.  Nathan was working a double shift and April got a call that she could pick up some overtime.  I was already deep into working on the teaching for Sunday, so I stayed at the computer while the girls took a little trip.  They went downtown to the library.  Seems there was a special guest speaker yesterday.  And that speaker brought along some friends.  Exotic friends.  A toucan.  A lemur.  Some kind of big cat (Can’t remember the name, but it starts with an “S”).  A wallaby.  Cailyn consistently called it a Ko-wallaby.  I first thought she was saying koala bear.  It wasn’t until she mentioned it having a pouch and I saw the pictures that I fully realized what she meant.  She even got to pet it as the lady walked through the crowd with the wallaby in a bag.  That wasn’t Cailyn’s favorite animal, though.  Oh no.  When the lady pulled out the fox Cailyn was absolutely smitten.  It wasn’t an arctic fox.  Good thing or Cailyn may have gone home with the lady.  It was some other exotic breed, though.  When they got home Chris looked up the lady’s website.  She actually will bring her creatures to your home for things like birthday parties.  Pretty hefty charges, though.  Churches do get a discount.  Not enough to make me jump for the phone and book em. 

We decided that Chris and Cailyn would stop at Whataburger on their way home and bring us some lunch.  I decided to surprise them and meet them there. Pretty busy place around noon.  After lunch Chris was battling a headache, so while she lay down Cailyn and I had to entertain ourselves.  She settled on some card games.  Kings in the Corner and, our current favorite, poker.  After we played quite a few hands a friend FaceTimed her.  The two of them proceeded to have the most unusual play date I have ever witnessed.  They carried their ipads around the house playing with dolls for a really long time, happy as a lark.  Hhmph.  Girls.

James 4:11-12 says, “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.  There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you — who are you to judge your neighbor?”

Father, thank you for my girls.  Don’t know what I’d do without them.  Amen.